Monthly Archives: January 2012

Is There Hope for Journalism and/or Are We All Going to Starve to Death?

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling all warm and hopeful about the future of online journalism. Why? 1000 Songs, a cool group I joined on Facebook, coordinated by arts guy about town, Jim Shedden.

bupropion xr dose

This is how the group works. Jim throws out a song he likes, a song he feels has cultural merit, and then buttresses that claim with a lot of deep, firsthand musical knowledge. Once Jim posts the song, the rest of us jump into the fray. You can stay within the FB group if you like, or you can take a journey courtesy of Youtube links into the musical hinterland and discover all kinds of new music. It’s utterly antithetical to long form, or what I like to call vertical journalism. Those lovely long deep articles we used to read way back in ye olde 20th century.

Rather, the new journey is horizontal and reaches as far as the Internet spreads, or your interest travels. Me, I started out with The Rain, The Park and Other Things by the Cowsills and ended up  in Winnipeg’s mid century Canadian Rockabilly scene.

Sure it took a little work on my end, but was it ever fun and musically and intellectually exhilarating.

While I was getting all happy, Nora arrived with the news that we’re all going to be starving to death thanks to the rate of change in computer technology. And natch, Nora being Nora, has Technology Review to back her up.  Plus a full interview with Andrew McAfree co-author of Race Against the Machine.

To calm us both down I sniffed out a story about flying robots and the latest in personal submarines.

Slap on yer headset and give us a listen.

The Sniffer: Trends in New York and IKEA’s Urban Planning

In today’s trendwatching podcast, I sniffed out the news that IKEA is creating a development in east London. The neighbourhood will have about 1,200 homes, and will be mostly car-free. What do you think? Would you live in a development like this? Is this the ultimate in ‘extending the brand’? You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile, Nora Young is back from New York, and finds the city still in retro mode, at least as far as cool bars and eateries goes, from the 70s vibe of  to older aesthetic throwbacks. Still, nothing felt as fresh as the steampunk vibe of a  Cathi points out that the retro feel is found far and wide these days, from the return of vinyl to Toronto spots like The Communist’s Daughter and Commute Home to the ‘rumpus room’ aesthetic you find in videos like this one, from Real Estate:

Bomb Girls Rock

I’m not generally a fan of network TV. Mostly because I have a kryptonite strength hate on for the reality television that tends to fill the air these days. However on this occasion, I raise a glass to Global for bankrolling, as well as promoting the heck out of “Bomb Girls,” a terrific new dramatic Canadian mini-series about a group of women working at a munitions factory during WWII.

Stylistically the program is reminiscent of Douglas Sirk’s technicolour melodramas of the 1950s, or the colour saturated sets and wardrobes that we’ve seen in Mad Men. There’s a particular look to this period, and director Adrienne Mitchell, not wanting to fall back on the sepia tones so frequently used in period dramas, opted to use to a special kind of HD Kodachrome film look so the series would vibrantly pop. And the editing, courtesy of Teresa DeLuca, is tight when it needs to be, but then DeLuca cleverly lets the scenes breathe when we need a moment to catch our breath and actually live in that time. In short, Bomb Girls looks great.

While Mitchell’s choice of the Kodachrome look gives the series an expensive, appealing patina, it also serves to nicely reflect some of the bitter ironies of the time. The women’s bold red lipstick is also the same bright colour used on the bomb tips. Everything in Bomb Girls is potentially explosive. Most certainly the war that the boys are fighting overseas, but also the sexual battle that takes place in the homes and especially on the floor of the munitions factory.

Things here are red hot. The few men who have been left behind relentlessly harass the women on the assembly line in an appalling manner. Any viewer under fifty will be shocked at what passed as acceptable behaviour not all that long ago. Bomb Girls should be required viewing for anyone interested in the battle of the sexes, and particularly young women today who proudly disavow feminism. Watch this program and you’ll see why the feminist revolution needed to be waged.

Then there are the socio economic battles. Jodi Balfour plays Gladys, a poor little rich girl who defiantly insists on taking a job on the floor so she can see how the other half lives. While Gladys is undeniably slumming, the reaction this prompts from her patriarchal monster father is terrifying. Gladys might live in an ivory castle, but one misstep and Daddy will toss her pampered behind out the door and onto the streets.

Meg Tilly’s character, Lorna, runs herd over the girls on the line, acting as the voice of reason and the conduit between the women on the floor and the dismissive bosses who run the factory. She’s a tough, middle-aged woman with two sons at war and a bitter paraplegic husband who hates the fact that she provides for the family and he can’t.

Lorna fearlessly barks out orders, appearing to be the only woman who can go toe to toe with the men; but secretly Lorna is terrified that a telegram will arrive any day with the news that one of her sons is dead.

The rest of the cast is equally good and for such a large ensemble, their stories are well drawn. I didn’t feel cheated or rushed, as is frequently the case when you have so many stories attempting to fill a scant six hours of TV.

There’s a young woman who has assumed a fake identity and is on the run from her sadistic preacher father who has taken to whipping her. A lesbian dynamic is hinted at, and of course there is the rich girl/poor boy storyline that feels fresh, even though it’s an extremely familiar narrative.

And that’s just a taste as to the flavour of the show. If the first episode is any indication as to the quality of the rest of the series, Bomb Girls is bound to be a big Canadian hit.

Bomb Girls  starts this Wednesday, January 4th at 8p.m. EST on the Global Television Network. Don’t miss it.